Minute Maid Park again used as a COVID-19 vaccination megasite Saturday

All 2,600 new appointments taken; Minute Maid Park to again serve as vaccine megasite this weekend

HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department’s is holding another COVID-19 vaccination megasite at Minute Maid Park Saturday afternoon. The health department plans to vaccinate approximately 5,000 people, according to a release.

Vaccinations will be administered only to those with an appointment. No walk-ins will be accepted.

Additional appointments were made available Friday-- approximately 2,600 -- for the weekend mega site at Minute Maid Park and filled in about 20 minutes, according to the department. The appointment portal opened at 10 a.m. and had been closed by 10:18 a.m.

Minute Maid Park will again serve as a coronavirus vaccine mega site Saturday, according to a tweet from the Houston Health Department.

KPRC spoke to Director Stephen Williams about the site at Minute Maid Park and appointments filling up in a matter of minutes.

“It really was surprising we know there is a high demand out there and so we want to do whatever we can in order to meet that demand, but of course, vaccine availability is one of the challenges,” Williams said.

KPRC continues to receive phone calls and messages from people who don’t have access to the internet. Director Williams says there are other ways people can make an appointment.

“We have our call center that is a why we have our call center. We recognize that people are not technology savvy and senior like to pick up the phone and call folks that’s one of the ways we are able to give people access,” he said.

The demand to get the COVID-19 vaccine is high, but it comes to providers receiving doses the supply is low.

The governor of Oregon and Washington State have already expressed their frustration about not receiving increased shipments of the vaccine because there are no federal reserve doses.

A report from the Washington Post says the Trump Administration had already begun sending out what was available back in December taking the second doses off the manufacturing line.

Director Williams says they’ve been working around the clock to get more does for Houstonians.

“We are knocking on the State’s doors we really wanted to have enough vaccines for the Minute Maid event I was banging on the State’s door don’t you have something to give me I was asking for thousands of doses and they only came up with a couple of hundred so we took those anyhow,” he said.

Williams said their goal is to open more mega sites in the south and north side of Houston, but he says people need to be patient.

“This will go on until as long as we have challenged with the supply of vaccine so we ask people to be patient we understand it. We are not saying it’s not appropriate to be frustrated I would be frustrated too it’s just we are found the best that we can in terms of making the vaccine available. When that supply increases there will be more providers providing the vaccine and hopefully they will be easily accessible,” he said.

The department plans to vaccinate approximately 5,000 people, through 2,400 pre-scheduled appointments and the 2,600 new appointments.

Vaccines will be given by appointment only. People who have already made an appointment are being contacted so they are aware of the new location, health officials said. The department said people should arrive no earlier than 15-minutes before their appointment time to ensure site efficiency and reduce wait times. It’s important for people to park in lots A or B to begin the registration process. Minute Maid Park’s home plate entrance will be used for the clinic.

RELATED READ: ‘Be patient’: Houston Mayor Sylvester says there’s a huge demand for COVID-19 vaccine in city

More than 3,800 people were vaccinated when the city opened its first mega site at The Juice Box last weekend. About 1,000 appointment slots became available the day of the event and were filled in about a half-hour.

Follow the latest vaccine headlines at Click2Houston.com/vaccine.

About the Authors:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.